The brightness temperature (T sub b) measured at 37 GHz shows fairly strong emission from rain, and only slight effects caused by scattering by ice above the rain clouds. At frequencies below 37 GHz, were the fov is larger and the volume extinction coefficient is weaker, it is found that the observations do not yield appreciable additional information about rain. At 85 GHz (fov = 15 km), where the volume extinction is considerably larger, direct information about rain below the clouds is usually masked. Based on the above ideas, 37 GHz observations with a 30 km fov from SMMR and SSM/I are selected to develop an empirical method for the estimation of rain rate. In this method, the statistics of the observed T sub b's at 37 GHz in a rain storm are related to the rain rate statistics in that storm. The underestimation of rain rate, arising from the inability of the radiometer to respond sensitively to rain rate above a given threshold, is rectified in this technique with the aid of two parameters that depend on the total water vapor content in the atmosphere. The retrieved rain rates compare favorably with radar observations and monthly mean global maps of rain derived from this technique over the oceans.